119 Inmates Escape As Rainstorm Destroys Suleja Correctional Centre Fence

One hundred and nineteen inmates have escaped from the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Suleja, in Niger State after a rainstorm damaged part of the facility late Wednesday. 

“A heavy downpour that lasted for several hours on the night of Wednesday, 24 April 2024 has wreaked havoc on the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Suleja, Niger State, as well as surrounding buildings, destroying a part of the custodial facility, including its perimeter fence, giving way to the escape of a total of one hundred and nineteen (119) inmates of the facility,” the Deputy Superintendent of Corrections Command Public Relations Officer, FCT Command, AS Duza, said in a Thursday morning statement.

But he said efforts have been ramped up to recapture the inmates with 13 of them so far retaken into custody.

“The Service has immediately activated its recapturing mechanisms, and in conjunction with sister security agencies have so far recaptured 10 fleeing inmates and taken them into custody, while we are in hot chase to recapture the rest,” he said.

According to him, the facility was built during the colonial era and is old and weak. He, however, said efforts are on to bring the facilities up to date.

“This is evidenced in the ongoing construction of six (6) number of 3000-capacity ultra-modern custodial centres in all the geo-political zones in Nigeria as well as the ongoing reconstruction and renovation of existing ones,” he said, asking the public to provide information and report “any suspicious movement to the nearest security agency”.

The heavy rain damaged parts of the building and exposed the facility’s inner fence protecting one of the cells where inmates were kept.

A resident of Suleja town BabangidaTuraki had told Channels Television that the rains pulled down a part of the fence undergoing repairs.

He said a combined security reinforcement returned some of the escaping prisoners. According to him, the team has been sent to strategic outlets and black spots of Suleja town to arrest the fleeing inmates.

Normalcy has since returned to Suleja town while a search is still ongoing to recover some of the prisoners.

The development comes as the Federal Government ramps up efforts to decongest the country’s correctional centres. In November, it said there are plans to free 4, 068 inmates nationwide.

According to the Minister of Interior OlubunmiTunji-Ojo, the programme is targeted at indigent inmates who cannot afford to pay their fines.

He said the Federal Government has raised N585 million to be used for the payment of fines to secure the release of 4,068 inmates across the federation.

Credit: channelstv.com


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